School: Horseshoe Bend School
School District: Tallapoosa County Board of Education
City, State: New Site, Alabama
About the Nominee: Willie Hall was nominated by Casey Davis, a member of his community. Mr. Hall is not just a custodian; he is an intricate part of his school! Casey states that as a community member, former principal and parent of children attending Horseshoe Bend, he knows what a difference Mr. Hall makes in the day-to-day lives of teachers, students and parents. Mr. Hall goes above and beyond to made the students feel safe and at home when they are in school. He mentors students during the year and becomes their biggest cheerleader! He goes above and beyond to show the students his love and dedication. Mr. Hall attends their proms, little league games and football games. He also volunteers as the parent for concession stands for students that don't have a parent to do the job.
Mr. Hall's children graduated from Horseshoe Bend many years ago and have moved to larger cities. He has no reason to attend these functions other than the fact that he wants to attend since he no longer has family in the school other than the students that he has "adopted" and became a father figure to. He has gone to the homes of young men and helped them get the parts to fix their cars so they can come to school and find jobs. Mr. Hall has been a person who genuinely cares. At graduation, he always makes sure that each student has clothing. If they don't, he uses his personal money to purchase what they need as a graduation gift. Several of the school's young men have graduated and return regularly to check in with "Uncle Benny," as he is known.
He has been called to the hospital to be a part of the birth of a first child for many students. He provides the students with skills that are just as important, if not, more important than what they learn from a textbook. Mr. Hall teaches and encourages students to be young men and women with manners, and to respect themselves and others. He teaches them about hard work, how to be a handyman, how to fix your car and what it means to be a good human being. He teaches students to care for one another and help each other out, even when the only thing in it for them is a "Thank You."
Casey states that from a personal standpoint, when he drops his child off at school every day, he knows that "Uncle Benny" will check on him and make him feel safe. He has attended his t-ball games and birthday parties, and he stops by the house to say hello! He is not just a custodian; he is Horseshoe Bend's guardian angel.
Mr. Hall is the definition of what a true friend is and what a man should strive to be. He is the face of Horseshoe Bend School, and it's impossible to imagine the school without him in the hallways! He has changed so many lives and will continue to be the change factor in his school. As Casey's children say all of the time, "Uncle Benny is the man!"